In 1950, Joseph Raymond McCarthy wasn’t only going after communists. It was a time when society would dig deep into their political opponents’ backgrounds for anything incriminating. Once found, they threatened to expose those deep dark secrets as a way of canceling their ability to live free lives. Thank God it’s different today. In writer/director Josephine Lohoar Self’s debut film, The Fabric of You, she sheds light on what it was like to be gay in the age of McCarthyism.
The Fabric of You is a stop-motion animated short using mice to represent its characters. Michael (Damien Molony) is a tailor working with his current client, Issac (Iain Glen). As Michael closely measures Issac, he is whisked away by daydreams of passion and intimacy.
“…whisked away by daydreams of passion and intimacy.”
The detail in The Fabric of You is quite impressive, as its style is not typical for this day and age. It was made without the aid of computer animation or digital post-production, with Self returning to the more traditional wireframed figures and miniature set pieces. The mice may seem odd at times, as the hair moves in unnatural ways. Still, considering their faces’ construction, the filmmaker finds practical ways to convey emotional and contemplative expressions in her models.
Self also weaves a good tale with The Fabric of You. I generally go in fresh to any movie—not wanting prior knowledge to influence how I interpret a story. Honestly, learning about McCarthyism helped me understand the plot better by establishing context for the story. While research helps understand the history of the narrative, the themes of keeping one’s identity a secret and the inner turmoil it creates is not lost in any way.
"…the themes of keeping one's identity a secret and the inner turmoil it creates is not lost..."